Friday, March 10, 2023

Throwing Out the Best Stuff?

I moved into this house, which we built, almost fifteen years ago. I even wrote a blog about that, printed it out on paper, and then deleted the blog. 

The move itself helped us filter our junk.  There are always boxes of stuff that you save and no longer use.  Also boxes of duplicates or backups of stuff you have never needed.  Then when you empty the drawers and empty the closet shelves you realize that life can get cluttered with so much more "stuff" than any human ever needs.

People who are always on the move, perhaps news photographers or people who work from ships such as international doctors, have just basic essentials and may store just a bit of memory "stuff" in a closet or rental unit somewhere. Their life activity and memories are their "junk".

This line of thinking all started with my search for my wedding dress (really a muumuu) and I have not been able to find all.  Did I get rid of that thinking I would never be able to get into it?  Did I actually give it away??  I have no clue because I can still see it in the box with the tissue.  

I did find the shoe box below with the label:  SEEDS GLASS JUNK

When I took off the lid I saw this below:

In the jar at the very top of the box is a collection of sea glass.  That brown bone-like structure in the upper middle is a piece of really interesting wood that has been worn down.  It looks like a fish skeleton, doesn't it?  Bits of seeds and feathers and all.  And, I will not throw out this box.  I collect stuff like this all the time!  
I will leave it to my kids to dump into the bin after I leave this planet. So I guess I clearly lack discerning nature for saving stuff since I cannot find my wedding dress!

Saturday, March 04, 2023

On a Roll, Hold Tight!

It seems that the world turns and turns and mankind churns and churns and we are at opposite purposes. I will ignore this black hole collision. 

Instead, I will write about my upcoming schedule, for those who are only remotely interested, which is exhausting in the weeks and months ahead for a woman on the downside of the 70s.

Tomorrow I have the whole day free to work on emails. I have emails from a florist in Kauai, a photographer in Kauai, and my daughter in the city to the north of us, and they all require attention. My husband and I had planned to go to Hawaii where we met AND married to celebrate our 50th anniversary two years ago. But COVID spread its contagious and frightening germs and we were forced to cancel. 

Hubby and I had met in Honolulu so many years ago with both of us in graduate school at the University. We married there just three months after meeting and headed out to the island of Palau, Micronesia where water and electricity were precious and sometimes scarce for our tiny two-bedroom apartment.  With no supermarkets and incoming mail only three days weekly, we faced challenges.  It was a good match if the first year of marriage can survive life on a remote Pacific island. (Oh my, who are those naive and young people?)

Our children were not happy that we had to cancel this remembrance.  Of course, we had just planned a visit to some old haunts, and visit some friends on Oahu and that would be it.  

Instead, the kids took over and wanted to turn this into a mini-event before we die.  (I mean that very literally)  We will be on Oahu for 3 days visiting old friends and then onto Kauai which is a lovely island to visit.  Our children and their children and one mother-in-law will be joining us.  This simple trip has now morphed into flowers, a photographer, a small renewal of vows, and who knows what else.  I am trying to assist in the coordination of all with my daughter.  This does not happen on the island where we married or even the day or month that we married, but alas, we are plunging ahead.  We are then going on to Maui because that is where my daughter's family wants to spend time.  We will be there for a week, and I am letting them all plan that.  This takes place the first week of  July when everyone's schedules blend.

My upcoming schedule also includes helping my husband plan a PowerPoint presentation at the local library this Saturday on shoreline preservation!  His mild dementia means I have some editing to do.  

Sunday, we get together with my daughter's family to visit the aquarium in Baltimore and eat a family lunch.  A Christmas gift we are just getting around to opening.  Then we drive down to spend the night in Annapolis for an overnight as my husband has surgery (a therapeutic eyelift) on the following Monday!  Are you keeping up?

In the following two weeks as hubby is resting, I may get caught up.  My first job is to help plan a week's vacation with my son, his wife, and their baby at a rental home on Emerald Isle in North Carolina during the last week of April, which is not far away on the calendar.  I have a feeling we will be doing lots of babysitting.

I  realize that I am blessed to be able to afford these trips (barely)  and am blessed to have a family so close that wants to be with us.  But  I am tired and running out of steam.  Send me energy.

Saturday, February 18, 2023


As we age, the contrast of events in our current life or memories from our past life seem greater or maybe lesser. What do you think? 

For instance, I am so emotionally high with my grandchildren. While I love my children, I do not remember my heart bursting with joy every time I saw them. Perhaps that was, because I saw my children every day and the reality is you see them clean and dirty, calm and emotional, happy and angry, energetic and tired?  They see you the same and are not always willing to share or even want to spend time with you.

My grandchildren, in my case, are seen maybe every other month, and the older ones are  on their best behavior (lucky me). The baby is most times, but even when crying she is precious and vulnerable.  She also changes dramatically from week to week and she now crawls around the room.

As for long-ago memories, I remember bits and pieces while my husband, who has been diagnosed with "mild cognitive impairment", remembers every detail of his youth...or it seems that way.

Also, my personality wants to slow down, and maybe think on past memories, while my husband wants passionately to make new ones while talking endlessly about past events.

We had a visit from a friend this past week who we have known for many years.  She came with her second husband who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and for whom a two-hour car trip  (which this was) is a big challenge.  He was quiet and pleasant, which is the same as his former peonality.  He is slow and unstable.  She is full of plans, building her next new house and running her small farm with a new chicken house being built, and training her dogs for dog shows, which is the same as her former personality.  Yet, they live happily on these two planes of existence and seem to be able to meet in the middle.

I do think age has given me a clearer perspective on time and the passage o time and my life in that spectrum.  Perhaps.  (These sunsets were taken last night as a big acold front moved in.  That high cloud makes for great light bounce.)

Monday, January 23, 2023

Where Does the Time Go?

One of my kind followers noted that I had not posted in some time. And, of course, since I have been in a mid-winter doldrums slump, there might be a reason for concern. I am still not quite in a happy place. I am older, tire more easily, and have trouble facing challenges with the tenacity that I used to bring to the forefront. It is normal for us agers.

Yes, I keep pushing through exercise two or three times a week.  About 30 minutes of intense free weights or maybe running over 3 miles on the elliptical.  This assures me my death will be quick when it comes  ;-).

2023 began with a frump or a dump or something that has even less enthusiasm than I do.  2023 was full frontal.  The gal that was a secretary at one of my last jobs passed away from cancer, and I did not know she was even fighting it!  My daughter's father-in-law passed after a long and difficult illness bringing guilty relief to his wife who now has a big change in the hours of each day. Two people from our Master Gardeners group of 40 or so also passed. Hubby was sick for a week with a cold or flu.  Not badly sick, just annoying fatigue.  Son and daughter-in-law visited with the sweet baby who was NOT sick for a change, but their dog did vomit on my carpet!  And they have my carpet cleaner up at their house!  I seem to be having brief dizziness when I move too quickly and I do monitor my blood pressure which does not seem unusually high.  Yes, this means I probably should call the Doc.  This is all in January which is not even past.

Today we are driving up to my daughter's house to exchange Christmas gifts.  It was either this Monday in late January or we wait until the end of March!  Their calendars are terribly full with all three children in activities and hubby involved in golf.  This will all come to an abrupt end in a few years and I hope my daughter is ready for the sudden end to running around!

I try very hard to focus away from the chaos that this world is going to be in for the next ten years, according to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor.  I have been reading Yeats, Mary Oliver, and Elizabeth Strout.  I did not like Olive Kitteridge by Strout as the people in the book are the kind of people that I avoid and possibly why I am an introvert.  I did find Lucy by the Sea and Oh, William! more redeeming.

I have included a few winter sunsets taken from my back deck.  I know, QUITCHER BITCHEN!

May your 2023 be filled with honest love, restorative peace, and forgivable errors.

Friday, December 16, 2022

That is Odd

Do all old people get idiosyncratic or is it just I? 

I find myself counting the stairsteps in my house when I go up or down. Not ALL the time, but fairly often. There are 15 in case you wonder. 

I do not leave discarded clothes on the floor of my closet if I am heading out to town. I at least fold them on the chair that I have in the closet. I think to myself, what if for some reason, a car accident or heart attack, I do not make it home and my daughter has to come down here to get my clothes and then sees how messy I live? (Sort of like that mom telling you to always wear clean underwear in the event you are in a car accident?)

I hate plastic but I still compulsively buy ziplock bags.  Most of my stuff is stored in glass-lidded containers, so why do I keep ziplock bags?  Some day I will make a list of when I use them and think of alternatives.

I put stuff away before the housecleaner comes so that all the surfaces are neat and does make it easier for her to clean or dust.

I save all those stupid holiday catalogs thinking I will need them and stack them neatly on the couch near where I sit.  That stack stays unmoved for weeks, and I have never ordered from any of them!

Each night I tell myself that I will be more proactive in getting things done the next day and it happens... about one out of every 8 days. (In all honesty, this is probably not just an old-timers thing.)

Got any unusual compulsive behaviors that others may notice but which are who you are?

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Does Anything Stay the Same Anymore?

The older I get, the more I find myself fitting in the mold of an old doddering lady. I always pictured (hoped) that I would become the stylish, skinny, and upper-middle-class grandma; the one that was sharp as a tack and that everyone loved to talk to for a brief time.

Ha!  I wish I was skinny, certainly no longer upper middle class with this inflation, and while some days, I am sharp as a tack, other days I wander around in a fog trying to remember what I was planning on finishing before starting dinner.  Stylish is something I attempt about two or three times a year.  Most days I wander around in old sweatsuits, or jeans and a sweatshirt.

Yesterday we had to drive up to the city to visit our financial advisor at my husband's insistence even though I wanted to wait until after the holidays.  Hubby's dementia meant he could follow very little of what happened at the hour-long meeting, but hubby was right in that we had not met face-to-face in a few years and it did help personalize our relationship with our advisor.  This advisor is the son of our original advisor and has now taken over our account.  His father has retired and is now taking care of his wife through a long-term illness, sadly.  Hubby also was right in that we got to meet up for a quick lunch with our son and his wife.  Sadly we did not see the baby who was in daycare.

Since this filled the whole day, I moved my list of holiday and other things to do, to today.  Unbeknownst to me, hubby had volunteered to give a presentation in February as part of our Master Gardeners projects for the public.  They are given at the library.  I got cc'd in an email from the coordinator since hubby had not been responding to her emails and that is how I learned about the commitment.  I explained to him that I could not help with this before the holidays as I just had too much on my list.  

That was never going to happen as he insisted he had to start the presentation and download the photos from his phone today.  Well, there went the better part of the day!  I started to work on downloading photos from his phone (a different model and make than mine) and then have him attach them in an email to himself since my USB connection did not work with his phone.  I selected 8 or 10 photos and then asked him to go through that list and delete down to four in the attachment since the email provider would not transfer more than that.  An hour later, I thought he was deleting but he had spiraled down to somewhere else and was back selecting photos, or something as he would not show me! 

I am afraid I lost my patience as I had so wanted this day to get myself a little better organized.  I just now left him with his computer and then heard him calling someone on the phone asking how to get emails off of his phone onto his computer.  It may be my busy son who is working from home, I do not know.  But he will patiently take him through screen after screen,... perhaps.  Or he will tell him to call tonight.

Part of this anger is resentment, I know.  Resentment that he does not participate in any of the holiday preparation.  He says he "hates" shopping and therefore, never buys any gifts for anyone and has never done so even before his dementia.   He says he is not able to wrap gifts, either.  He is not a cook, but with dementia, I do not think he should be attempting any of the holiday cooking anyway.  Each year I have asked him to help with the holiday greetings that we mail, although I pull together the card design, and the list of addresses, and set him up at the table.  I have done this for years and he loves writing a message to friends and family.  Fingers crossed this year.

One would think I would be adjusting to this change by now!!  And those of you who are wondering why I am taking time to blog when I have so much to do...who knows...guess it is my therapy for the day.

Well, done venting, thank you for listening and I know...I know...the font is off again!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Are the Holidays a Wind-up?

I sit this morning in the early dark drinking my strong black coffee with just enough sweetened cream to take the edge off.  I slept over seven hours which is my regular routine. While my sleep is filled with dreams these days, I do feel rested.  Hubby is still deep in slumber and will sleep closer to ten hours.  He is an energizer bunny with projects during the day and that activity coupled with his slight dementia means he will sleep through a long night.

The home across the river and a few houses up from us already has its holiday lights along the dock.  The weather has been cold for days with just enough of a breeze to make it feel much colder.  We have been putting off stringing the outside holiday lights hoping the weather will moderate somewhat.  While we have no snow and do not face the drama and hard work the folks north of us have endured, we are older and feeling it in our bones more each year.

Today I have to plan which pies I will bring to my daughter's house for Thanksgiving.  My three grandchildren and my son-in-law do not like fruit pies and so I am left to make some cloying sweet pies such as an Oreo cookie monster.  I will probably go ahead and make a key lime pie because I have a dozen kafir limes from my tree that need to be used while they are somewhat fresh.  I will also bring a side dish of sausage stuffing which they claim to like and which I make each year with Italian sausage and lots of herbs.  My daughter is ordering the rest from the local grocery.  We seem to be doing it lighter each year.

We cannot arrive the night before since my daughter has close friends that are using their guest room as a stopping place on their way north to visit their own family for the holidays.  So, we will arrive mid-morning and quickly say hello and goodbye to the guests which we know, eat our Thanksgiving dinner with the family, and then head back home mid-afternoon because my daughter and her family are then heading north for Thanksgiving with the in-laws the rest of the weekend.  My daughter's father-in-law has a form of MS which now requires he be placed in a care facility.  It is a sad time for all.  

My son and his wife are spending Thanksgiving out of state with his wife's family this year, so our long weekend will be quieter.

Ooops, my son just texted and said they may not be heading through the nasty snow to Erie after all.  Their little baby is fighting a long-term cold.  I invited them to join us at my daughter's and then come down here for the weekend where I can wait on them.  Seems everything is up in the air.  

I am an old lady and will certainly handle it all with aplomb (that is still a word, right?) as I am not going without electricity like those in Ukraine, and I am not facing grief like those who lost a child, significant other, or brother or sister in Colorado in the recent "mass shooting", and I am not spending the day in a holding shelter like so many that are homeless or those around the world who are refugees waiting for a reprieve.  I am winding up my one precious and privileged life slowly, ever so slowly.

I look for the light because the perception of where we are and who we are and where we are going is dependent upon finding light each day.